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JB Braden and Chris Natzke | Co-Creators of The Champion Speakers Academy

We are running a blog series featuring small business owners in multiple niches and industries. It is our aim to help facilitate connections and raise the visibility of small business owners around the globe. COVID-19 caused many small businesses to pivot and retool to sustain a profitable business. Sharing lessons learned will strengthen us all! Today we’re excited to introduce you to small-business owners, JB Braden and Chris Natzke. They are the co-creators of the Champion Speakers Academy (CSA) as well as Professional Speakers and Speaker Coaches.

What is the WHY behind your business? What motivated you to get started?

To assist aspiring speakers, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals to "speak with a purpose" to inspire, educate, entertain and convert potential customers into paying clients. After speaking professionally for over a decade, we each have grown our speaking and coaching businesses through speaking on live and virtual stages. Now we want to assist other aspiring speakers. coaches and small business owners to do the same.

Did COVID impact your business? If yes, how did you pivot and overcome the challenges?

Absolutely, for Chris, 2020 was off to the most successful speaker year to date, with 13 talks delivered or booked in the first quarter alone - a pace of over 50 talks annually. That came to an abrupt halt when the country was locked down. As a result, I pivoted to virtual keynoting, Zoom coaching clients (as far away as Hawaii), the development of an online program, and the writing of my second book (published in January of 2021)

Definitely, for JB it took away the most enjoyable part of what I do. Speaking on live stages! I was quite resistant to making the pivot to virtual stages. However, that pivot forced me to broaden my perspective, which in turn helped enlarge the scope of my business! I guess you could say, COVID was a blessing in disguise. It reminded me to look at the opportunities when faced with challenges and obstacles.

What lessons did you learn that made your business more resilient and sustainable?

I (Chris) discovered that there is always another way to run a successful business. It may be a cliche, but when one door closes, another one opens. For instance, pivoting to Zoom keynoting and coaching opened up a whole new realm of clients that I may not have served before had it not been for the pandemic.

As I (JB) mentioned previously, it reminded me to focus on the opportunities not the obstacles. Now I’m very excited about the ability to take my speaker coaching business international! This new format will help me build a global brand and open up doors to impact more lives around the world!

Who do you serve and how do you help them? (what problem do you solve?)

Many people have come to us throughout the years saying they want to be speakers. They either feel they have a powerful message that they need to share to positively impact others' lives and/or they really feel they have unique and powerful businesses that can make a difference, but they are looking for a platform through speaking to let people know about it, so they can grow their businesses.

While many people have aspirations to be speakers, they just don't know where to start. They haven’t identified their ideal audiences, they haven’t gotten a handle on what the main purpose of their message is (e.g., to inspire, entertain, educate or promote a service or product). They also haven’t learned how to transform their personal stories to connect with an audience and lead them to a powerful call to action.

In the Champion Speakers Academy, we train, guide and inspire aspiring speakers, entrepreneurs , and sales professionals who want to grow and expand their business through live and virtual speaking. Through the CSA, participants learn the strategies, tools and techniques we have employed and developed throughout the years to create successful speaking careers as well as grow other aspects of our coaching, teaching and facilitation businesses.

Why/How did you select this niche?

We have had aspiring speakers, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals approach both of us to coach them in the past, so we decided to collaborate on the CSA. In a way, our niche found us.

What types of programs do you offer?

We offer speaker training and coaching services. Our next 2-Day workshops will be held April 2 and May 7, 2022. You can learn more on our FREE Webinar "The 5 Biggest Mistakes Speakers Make From Stage" Tuesday, March 29th at 6:30pm MT. The Champions Speakers Academy is a 2-Day program with ongoing coaching to assist aspiring speakers and entrepreneurs who would like to make a bigger impact in growing their business and/or leading their respective teams. Participants learn to:

  • Identify your Ideal Client Avatar

  • Gain crystal clear clarity on the purpose of your message

  • Learn the power of story and how to use yours to inspire audiences

  • Create your signature presentation to educate, entertain and convert potential clients into paying customers

  • And much, much more!

What kind of results can people expect from working with you?

Many of our clients say they gain a higher level of confidence when presenting on stage. They shift their perspective and really begin to see what's possible by speaking and connecting with potential clients from stage. They also...

  • Learn to stop wasting time speaking to the wrong groups with nothing to show for your efforts. Gain clarity about your target market so you speak to the right people and monetize your message.

  • Discover how to communicate the problem you solve more effectively, create a connection with your audience, and convert more leads into paying clients.

  • Craft a signature presentation designed to inspire, educate, entertain, engage, and convert. Walk away from each speaking engagement with raving fans that want to work with you.

  • Learn tools and techniques that will transform your presentation to world-class status and position you as an expert in your field.

  • And much more!!!

How can readers connect with you and learn more about or support you? (share website, email, social links)

Champion Speakers Academy:

Chris’ website:

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